London’s East Side

After searching for another article completely unrelated to drugs/drug-use, I came across this article in the Globe and Mail search results titled “On London’s east side, OxyContin is King”

One of the reasons brought up as to what caused this drug to be “king” is that well… it is being over-prescribed.

“Through over-prescribing, the public-health system is actively, if inadvertently, creating thousands upon thousands of drug addicts. And it’s flooding the streets with the pills to feed those addictions.”

Simple enough answer. Blame the public-health system.

There are some suggestions that Deb Matthews brought up in the article to tackle this drug issue. Some of the things she suggested are:


  • Enlighten health professionals on what they’re dealing with
  • set clear guidelines for when and how much to prescribe and dispense
  • then trust them to make the right decisions.(Don’t we already “trust” the healthcare professionals to make the “right” decisions presently?!)

Then it was brought up that the problem could be the persistence of the addicts themselves. But that’s what everyone does already–blame the addict.

Then further in the article it was mentioned that the “integrated addiction strategy seems to have strong support from the municipal government.” The strategy offers everything from shelter, to counselling, to harm reduction. Oh but wait, there is still lack of support from the federal and provincial levels. Then, spots in rehab-clinics are rare because of certain rules that one must abide by before even entering (even if it is just for one night). And the lack of support for mental health services or affordable housing.

This article is good in a sense that it talked about everything that is wrong except for one thing–it is much easier to get drugs than it is to get any of the other services that an addict wants to use to get clean.

Have to be clean for 72 hours before sleeping in an overnight bed? That’s 3 days. 3 days in Candy Land is a pretty long time.

Have to have no criminal record or be using illegal drugs to use out-patient mental health services at Old Vic hospital? And, that’s only if you make it past the screening process (See no criminal record and no use of illegal drugs–but sometimes isn’t that the cause of mental health issues–illegal drug use?). Oh can’t forget, most importantly, that’s only if you can make it to your initial appointment.

And to have issues like the girl mentioned in the article — prostituting in East London. Taking abuse from Johns. Being angry with her doctor. Sucked back in through her circle of friends. For some drug use helps to make certain pain or emotions disappear. For others, it is the only thing they know. For some, they don’t want to know any better.

So really, what is the problem with “London’s East Side” … even when the London Police Services (with its fancy-schmatsy new building) is right at the heart of London’s East Side.

Maybe it is an array of all those problems listed in the article, and maybe its few confusing solutions (Education? For what–to trust our health-care professionals to make the correct decisions–something that we are supposed to trust them to do already). Or maybe, some people just fail to realize that yup, drugs are easy to get and a drug addict can and will get drugs where ever and when ever they can. Sure some will do whatever it takes to get the drugs. But what about the fact that some of the solutions already put in place, are that much more difficult to attain or acquire access too (Like those 24 hour beds, wherein someone has to be 72-hours clean).

In reality, for some, the door and desire to get clean sometimes is a small one and can close very quickly. In my opinion, the problem exists not only with lack of services (ie-mental health) but the abundance of tape that one must cut through just to even get help… even if it is only for 24-hours.

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